Bello Lauds World Bank, FG Initiative on Erosion Menace in Kogi

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From John Akubo, Lokoja

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has commended the federal government and the World Bank whose collaboration with his government is set to tackle the challenge of erosion menace in the state.

The project which started in 2013 with 7 South Eastern States has incorporated Kogi in the second phase of 7 states selected to benefit from the World Bank’s 8 years  Strategic Investment Loan (SIL) of $508.59 million meant to ameliorate the effect of environmental degradation in the affected states.

The partnership that will see to the implementation of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in vulnerable communities in the State he said has lifted a great burden off his administration.

Addressing the team from the World Bank and NEWMAP yesterday in Lokoja, Bello lauded the initiative, adding that environmental degradation and its challenges had been a serious dilemma for his administration amidst scarce resources.

“It is a good thing now that the international donor agency and world bank are coming together to assist us. This will go  a long way to making impact in the lives of our people, especially the rural dwellers.

“I am very satisfied with  the presentation of the agency and ours is to pay a token as part of counterpart funding. We will conduct them round the state so that they can see areas of challenges and how best they can attend to it”, he said.

Governor Bello urged the representatives to  go round the various erosion sites in the state and interact with the affected communities, adding that their findings will determine the amount the state government would contribute to the project.

Earlier, the Kogi state project co-coordinator of NEWMAP,  Barrister  Ladi Ahmed Jatto explained that the  project which kickstarted in 2013 is a State led intervention initiated by the federal Government in collaboration with the world Bank and participating States.

Jatto indicated that the project is meant to reduce vulnerability, to soil erosion and reverse or prevent land degradation.

“We have gone  round the erosion sites in the state. The level of devastation in the state is alarming as many people are living with constant fear of menace of erosion”, she said.

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